Feb 5, 2015

Wikipedia Class Project Update 3 (February 2015)

Dear All,

See the growing "talk" page on your article draft for a message from the reviewing editor with suggestions about a new introduction. The suggestion to re-frame the entry by indicating that public-sphere discourse has become read-write, rather than read-only, resonates with much of what you realized over the course of last semester.

-Prof. G

Jan 23, 2015

Wikipedia Class Project Update 2 (January 2015)

Dear All,

Yesterday I received a message from the Wikipedia editor who reviewed our article, with a rejection, explaining that s/he hadn't seen the term circulating, and therefore our article was original research.

This surprised me because the Wikipedia editors I spoke with before we pitched our terms in October had been familiar with the Wiki book on Rhetoric and Writing in the Public Sphere, had seen the term circulating in practice, and had thought the term could be viable for Wikipedia. It's also possible that this editor/reviewer isn't familiar with the growing number of courses or syllabi in public sphere writing (at Duke, JMU, St. Francis College, etc.).

So, it may be that another lead or a different introduction can help to better contextualize the term  as the trend it is actually becoming. As with most Wikipedia projects, the draft page can still be updated, edited, and reviewed. It can also be submitted again for review. And of course, you may download it to keep it intact, if you wish.

-Prof. Graban

Jan 9, 2015

Wikipedia Class Project Update (January 2015)

Dear All:

If you have been checking this space for an update on our class project from last term, I can finally report that it is one of 631 articles flagged for review. To access the review draft, you can find our article on "Public Sphere Writing" in the left-hand column (halfway down) of this page. I will post again once it has been approved. In the meantime, I'd like to say this article is something you can and should be proud of.

Happy New Year,
-Prof. G

Dec 2, 2014

Final Preparation for 12/4: Wikipedia Project Home Stretch

Dear All,

As a courtesy reminder, you are -- in teams and/or individually -- finishing up your revision, editing, and polishing tasks on our Wikipedia article by the beginning of class time on Thursday. (I know that in some cases, late inspiration will hit and some of you will want to contribute new content, including examples and relevant case studies. That's perfectly fine. We have 48 hours to make this article really ours and really matter!) We'll have one final phase to navigate together in the first few moments of Thursday's class, but by and large, I am giving us all permission to take collective ownership of the piece as it is shaping up nicely. I realize this involves a bit of creative chaos, and that's why we'll have a few final moments together on Thursday to settle any disputes (should any arise) about formatting. (As I mentioned in my last post, collectively smoothing over with a group of writers as large as our class is challenging, but it can be done.) I am on hand between now and then, and I'm quite excited to see us work toward a finish.

You are also (per the Wikipedia assignment sheet) composing your Analytic Reflection for the Wikipedia Assignment. It's no secret that one of my desires is for you to master the art of critical reflection, and so think of this as a penultimate opportunity to reflect with some depth on your experiences and also teach us critical concepts in the process.

And finally, please do bring a shorter (less formal) reflection to class for my eyes only, letting me know how the Wikipedia project has gone for you.

See you on Thursday,
-Prof. Graban

Nov 25, 2014

Preparation for 12/2: Final Wikipedia Peer Review

Dear All:

Our Wikipedia (sandbox) space is up, and you can access it via Bb in the left-hand toolbar. Follow the link, log in with your Wikipedia credentials, and click the "Edit" tab at the top of the page to see the whole article as well as my introductory note to how we will work in that space.

(Be sure to log in, and be sure to click "edit" at the top of the page; if you don't log in, I cannot trace your work, and if you only "edit" a section, you will be limited in terms of what you can view in your sandbox.)

Section business ...

Section 1, I am asking you to also compose the Lead section to our article, since I think that will allow you to contribute more content. The Wikipedia <"Manual of Style"> has a section on authoring Leads that we looked briefly at earlier in the semester.

Sections 4 and 5, you are now the newly combined section 4. I did my best with copying content over from the Wikipedia team spaces; forgive me in advance if I mis-copied or overlooked something, and feel free to make changes as needed.

All sections, forgive me in advance if I mis-copied or overlooked something when it moved over from our G-Drive drafting space. Change as needed.

To get ready for peer review ...

Now that we have moved this into our shared space, individuals--as well as teams--should feel free to contribute, revise, and edit. We still have a lot of work to do to finish content, recombine the elements in the newly combined section, "clean" all our content, and ensure there are cohesion markers that help all subsections make sense in each section, and each section make sense to the whole article. 

Also, as readers of other teams' work, you as individuals can determine whether some examples and explanations are relevant to a particular section after all. Some may not make sense to you and may need revision, editing, rethinking, or eliminating. We now publicly own this space so it's up to everyone to make this make sense, not just the teams who drafted.

By Tuesday's class, our article needs to be finished so that during class we can start our fine-level proofreading, stylistic editing, and formatting, and I'll actually assign teams to different tasks as a way of dividing up labor. Folks, I won't lie--smoothing is one of the most difficult things to do for a Wikipedia project among a group this large. You're all writers; you all have opinions. For us, this means taking to heart coherence, cohesion, and moves of authorization, as well as being very careful with our claims and very purposeful with our examples. So, please keep in mind three things:
  1. item 4. from Exercise 1 of today's workshop (handout in Bb)
  2. the "avoidances or cautions" from Exercise 2 of today's workshop (handout in Bb)
  3. Wikipedia's <Neutral Point of View> techniques and <Featured Article Criteria>

Have a great break,
-Prof. G

Nov 20, 2014

Preparation for Merged Style Workshop and Peer Review on 11/25

Dear All:

Our GDrive workspace won't be sufficient for us to do the kind of real-time workshop we need to do today with optional participation, so I will plan to merge today's workshop with next week's peer review into a single class session. Some of you are nervous about our timeline, but you need not be.

Please just bring Style and Working with Words to class on Tuesday (11/25) since you will be working individually and in groups out of both texts. I'll devote the first 30 minutes of Tuesday's class to our workshop on making authoritative claims that don't overstep Wikipedia's neutral-point-of-view policy (i.e., emphasis, rhythm and grace), and then I'll devote the latter 45 minutes of Tuesday's class to a peer review of our Wikipedia article in progress, which will by then be uploaded into a Wiki "sandbox" space. At that time, we'll also divvy up editing and formatting responsibilities so that each group has a task going into the final week.

What this means for today: If you can (given the circumstances), please make use of the time to finish up your respective sections of the article. All teams please note that I have inserted a note to you inside your GDrive working space, mainly suggesting global coherence statements, since I now have an idea of how all your pieces are coming together. It's coming along fine, believe it or not, but some teams are much further along than others; soon, we all need to catch up to each other, and I believe Teams 4 and 5 still have some merging of sections to work out.

Later today or tonight, I plan to move all of your completed sections outside of GDrive and into a Wiki sandbox space, so it's important that you have a full draft completed, and that your endnotes and sources are there. Moving it into the Wiki sandbox doesn't mean we can't continue to work on it; it just means that it's time for us to merge all sections together and start treating it as a whole, so please use today's time well if you can.

And as always, I'm here and in my office if you need me and I'm always available online for questions.

Many thanks, and have a good day today and a good weekend. Be safe and well, and see you Tuesday,

-Prof. Graban

Nov 18, 2014

Preparation for 11/20: Workshop on Rhythm, Grace (and Authoritative "Moves")

Dear All:

For Thursday, we're following the syllabus. However, in deference to some of the questions that came up during last week's Wikipedia workshop -- especially about reconciling a seemingly broad topic with seemingly specific claims from the sources you are reading -- I'd like to refocus the workshop on authoritative "moves," i.e., giving sentences and phrases the weight and transparency and clarity they need in order to be received as informative, viable claims.

That said, in addition to working through <SA #6> (which will allow you to get your feet wet editing in Wikipedia's sandbox environment), I'm asking you to read the following:
  • the lesson on "Emphasis" in Style
  • Working with Words pp. 94-95 (making sentences parallel), pp. 111-115 (getting words in the right order), and pp. 183-194 (quoting, semi/colons, hyphens and dashes).

As you're reading through WW, you'll likely alternate between useful discovery and pointless redundancy, but stick with it. Some of the conventions they point to will be useful for some of the sentences you have already composed in your Wikipedia space.

Finally, again, our emphasis will be on applying the editing workshop to our Wikipedia article in progress. So, please ensure that your group's writing space has a polished enough draft that we can actually get into it and do something useful.

See you Thursday,
-Prof. G

Nov 14, 2014

Preparation for 11/18: Portfolio Workshop

Hi All:

In advance of Tuesday's workshop on the final portfolio, please do the following:
  • Review the assignment sheet so that you can ask -- and get answered -- any questions you have about scope, content, or organization.
  • Decide on an organizational plan, i.e., chronological, topical/thematic, or some other organization, and either storyboard or make a list of all its linked components, i.e., all the components you're hoping to include in your portfolio from major assignments to individual blog posts. I'm primarily asking you to do this because questions will arise as you begin to envision what it's like to have to accommodate certain items or links, and I'd like you to have a concrete sense of how much effort it will take to put your particular portfolio together. As well, your organization will help to determine the nature of reflection and the amount of explanation you'll need to provide to help an unfamiliar reader navigate the portfolio and understand the significance of all its components. Please bring that organizational scheme to Tuesday's workshop, in some form.
  • Decide on a design theme, and this can be fairly simple (especially if you are using blogger's skins), but I'll ask you to give it some thought ahead of time so that you can -- again -- consider any complexities of organizing information in advance. This might be a good time to review Barton/Kalmbach/Lowe <“Rhetorics of Web Pages”>.
  • Begin drafting the longer, critical analytical reflection. This piece will naturally take some time and some thought, since it is more than an off-the-cuff reflection. It is somewhat formal, but moreover, it needs to be the centerpiece that helps a reader understand your intellectual pathway through the course. As always, it asks you to synthesize some of our critical texts from the semester to help genuinely convey your own understanding of what you have gained, if you feel you have gained, and how your writing, editing, or understanding of discourse has changed. Please bring whatever you have drafted to Tuesday's workshop, in some form.
  • One final thing: if you are going to be featuring some of your weekly blog posts and/or blog responses from throughout the semester, I'll ask you to quickly edit them for clarity and accuracy. There are only 6 of them, and yet for some of you, these reflected some very significant moments throughout the course, and some very good writing, so you'll want to take the time to correct typos, insert missing words, fix misdirected or broken hyperlinks, clean up the textual formatting and spacing, and generally do what you can to improve the look and readability of the posts. This will probably be the quickest revision task of the whole portfolio, so I'd rather you get it done earlier than later.

See you next week,
-Prof. Graban

Nov 11, 2014

Preparation for 11/13: Wikipedia Project, Article Plan II

Hello, Everyone:

As you are working in your Google Drive spaces with your writing teams, please do keep in mind that -- in some cases -- the best sources you could be drawing from are the sources you have already read and mastered for the class. In other words, take this is an opportunity to look again at those sources that already reflect what you think to be true about public-sphere writing, since our main prerogative as Wikipedia editors is to construct an article that is as informative as possible. We do not need to convince anyone of the existence of the topic; rather, we are pointing to the topic's presence and usage (already) in what we have been studying. (And this would be true no matter what our chosen topic.)  

By the beginning of class time on Thursday, your group will need have a full and completed draft of your section in the group's wikipedia workspace. After spending some time considering the fallibility of some of Wikipedia's existing articles, we'll be examining our article -- section by section -- for fallibility and neutral-point-of-view. Most significantly, we'll spend time considering whether there is too much overlap between sections and/or too little coherence and cohesion throughout the whole piece. 

Our goal by the end of the class will be to have made final content decisions about what stays in what section, what needs to be moved around, and what might go altogether. In other words, this is the time when our individual group ethos will need to fold more broadly into a whole class ethos. That said, each group should expect to have some part of their section challenged, rethought, reorganized, and even renegotiated.

If we can do that successfully, then we have one more week to complete the next step, which is for each group to get their section completely finalized according to a set of shared editing criteria. In the last few days of class, we will then work on smoothing over the whole (but more on that, later, since that involves a couple of steps I'll be completing on our behalf).

Please bring to class -- or otherwise have access to in class -- the sources you have used to compose your section of the article. We have a lot to get accomplished in our 75 minutes. Please also bring your assignment sheet (just for reference).

See you on Thursday, if not before,
-Prof. Graban

Nov 4, 2014

Preparation for 11/6: Case Study #4 (Copyrights and Wrongs)

Folks, we're following the syllabus, which means we'll examine our final case study on Thursday, on "Copyrights and Wrongs." We're <blogging> as usual on Ridolfo/Rife, Wiebe, and Liu. If respondents want to get started early, they can feel free to respond to some of last week's posts (on Zittrain, Hood, and Gates), so long as they find a way to bring them into conversation with this week's readings. In truth, there is much to discuss between and among these two case studies, and we will likely find ourselves returning to ethics and fallibility at some point during Thursday's discussion.

Also, group spaces have been constructed for Wikipedia working teams; you'll find them linked from our Wikipedia work space in Bb.

Finally, if you have not yet done so, please sign up for a <Policy Argument Feedback Conference>.

Onward, and see you on Thursday,
-Prof. Graban